SCOPSCO Pollen Group

The international team of SCOPSCO (Scientific Collaboration on Past Speciation Conditions in lake Ohrid) has studied the Balkan lake Ohrid to reconstruct past climatic trends. The research was led by Bernd Wagner of the University of Cologne.
Lake Ohrid is located at the border between Albania and Republic of North Macedonia and it is considered one of the oldest lakes in Europe. For this reason, in2013, thanks to a funding of the ICDP (International Continental scientific Drilling Program), the bottom of the lake was drilled and a sediment core with an impressivelength of 600 m was made available to an international team of researchers. Thegeological coring, carried out in a central position at a water depth of 243 m,represented a technological challenge that required the use of equipment coming from the United States. Sediment layers can be interpreted as pages of a history book that scientists can read. The sediment of Lake Ohrid, slowly accumulated overtime, layer by layer, records the history of vegetation and climate of more than one million years, thus preserving the evidence of glacial and interglacial cycles in the Mediterranean.
Among the data provided, a significant role was played by the study of fossil pollen preserved in the sediment of this lake, which was studied by a group of Italian, Dutch,  French, Greek and German palynologists led by Laura Sadori of the Sapienza University (SCOPSCO pollen group). The team, first to gather such a large number of experts working in synergy on a single archive, described the changes in vegetation that occurred in response to alternating climatic periods. Warm and wet interglacials have allowed the development of forests while cold and arid glacials have mostly been characterized by extensive steppes and grasslands. During the coldest and driest periods, the lake, thanks to its extraordinary environmental conditions, was an area of refuge for many plant and animal species, and today is an important biodiversity hotspot and, since 1979, also a UNESCO site. Thanks to the pollen, which is very peculiar, it was also possible to learn more about the extinction of some characteristic Quaternary plants that are no longer present in the Balkan region.
Sapienza pollen group - Publications on Lake Ohrid
  • Sinopoli G., Peyron O., Masi A., Holtvoeth J., Francke A., Wagner B., Sadori L., 2019. Pollen-based temperature and precipitation changes in the Ohrid Basin (western Balkans) between 160 and 70 ka. Climate of the Past 15: 53-71.
  • Sinopoli G., Masi A., Regattieri E., Wagner B., Francke A., Peyron O., Sadori L., 2018. Palynology of the Last Interglacial Complex at Lake Ohrid: palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic inferences. Quaternary Science Reviews 180: 177-192.
  • Zanchettta G., Baneschi I., Francke A., Boschi C., Regattieri E., Wagner B., Lacey J.H., Leng M.J., Vogel H., Sadori L., 2018. Evidence for carbon cycling in a large freshwater lake in the Balkans over the last 0.5 million years using the isotopic composition of bulk organic matter. Quaternary Science Reviews 202: 154-165. 
  • Bertini A., Sadori L., Combourieu-Nebout N., Donders T.H., Kouli K., Koutsodendris A., Joannin S., Masi A., Mercuri A.M., Panagiotopoulos K., Peyron O., Sinopoli G., Torri P., Zanchetta G., Francke A., Wagner B., 2016. All together now: An international palynological team documents vegetation and climate changes during the last 500 kyr at lake Ohrid (SE Europe). Alpine and Mediterranean Quaternary 29: 201-210.
  • Sadori L., Koutsodendris A., Panagiotopoulos K., Masi A., Bertini A., Combourieu-Nebout N., Francke A., Kouli K., Joannin S., Mercuri A.M., Peyron O., Torri P., Wagner B., Zanchetta G., Sinopoli G., Donders T.H., 2016. Pollen-based paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic change at Lake Ohrid (SE Europe) during the past 500 ka. Biogeosciences 13: 1423–1437.
  • Zanchetta G., Regattieri E., Giaccio B., Wagner B., Sulpizio R., Francke A., Vogel H., Sadori L., Masi A., Sinopoli G., Lacey J. H., Leng M. J., Leicher N., 2016. Aligning and synchronization of MIS5 proxy records from Lake Ohrid (FYROM) with independently dated Mediterranean archives: implications for DEEP core chronology. Biogeosciences 13: 2757-2768.

Collective papers

  • Wilke T., Hauffe T., Jovanovska E., Cvetkoska A., Donders T.H., Ekschmitt K., Francke A., Lacey J.H., Levkov Z., Marshall C.R., Neubauer T.A., Silvestro D., Stelbrink B., Vogel H., Albrecht C., Holtvoeth J., Krastel S., Leicher N., Leng M.J., Lindhorst K., Masi A., Ognjanova-Rumenova N., Panagiotopoulos K., Reed J.M., Sadori L., Tofilovska S., Van Bocxlaer B., Wagner-Cremer F., Wesselingh F.P., Wolters V., Zanchetta G., Zhang X., Wagner B., 2020. Deep drilling reveals massive shifts in evolutionary dynamics after formation of ancient ecosystem. Science Advances, 6, eabb2943.
  • Wagner B. Vogel H., Francke A., Friedrich T., Donders T.H., Lacey J., Leng M., Regattieri E., Sadori L., Wilke T., Zanchetta G., Albrecht C., Bertini A., Combourieu-Nebout N., Cvetkoska A., Giaccio B., Grazhdani A., Hauffe T., Holtvoeth J., Joannin S., Jovanovska E., Just J., Kouli K., Kousis I., Koutsodendris A., Krastel S., Leicher N., Levkov Z., Lindhorst K., Masi A., Melles M., Mercuri A.M., Nomade S., Nowaczyk N., Panagiotopoulos K., Peyron O., Reed J.M., Sagnotti L., Sinopoli G., Stelbrink B., Sulpizio R., Timmermann A., Tofilovska S., Torri P., Wagner-Cremer F., Wonik T., Zhang X., 2019. Mediterranean winter rainfall in phase with African monsoon during the past 1.36 million years, Nature 573, 256-260.

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